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Another World Social Forum Is Possible

Letter from the FPH to Allies and Partners in View of the WSF 2005 in Porto Alegre

The next World Social Forum will be held in Porto Alegre from January 26 to 31, 2005. In five years, the WSF has imposed itself as a major event for all those who are attempting to build another world, as a place allowing the expression, in all its diversity, of those engaged in the alterglobalization battle. In doing so, the Social Forums have given rise to much new hope. They have so far, however, not been sufficiently able to take full advantage of their diversity as well as to strengthen it while giving rise to specific political action and the collective formulation of proposals for alternatives.

Aware of these stumbling blocks, the organizers of the World Social Forum have decided to introduce some changes in the process of preparation of the World Social Forum 2005. With this aim in mind, the program of the next WSF is to be fully developed by the organizations that take part in the Forum, and no longer by the Organization Secretariat or the International Council.

The first step in this direction will be to open a consultation on June 14. Its aim will be to list the themes and struggles that each organization would like to see dealt with at the WSF, as well as the activities that each would like to organize. Everyone will be able to see the results of this consultation at all times. This is to allow everyone to begin voluntary processes for the articulation or mergers—called “aggregate groups”—of their activities.

On the basis of the questionnaires for this consultation that will have been filled and sent in before July 13, the Content and Methodology Commissions of the WSF International Council will propose the establishment of working groups on the main issues defined by this consultation. These working groups, which will work freely, will be able to work on the development of a common program, either by merging certain activities or by coordinating them.

Participation in this consultation, then in the working groups is not compulsory, nor does it commit anyone to executing all the proposals he or she will have made. It is nonetheless indispensable that a maximum amount of organizations take part in this consultation, so that the WSF 2005 truly reflects the will of its participants, and gives them the means to interlink, before and during the Forum.

The next step, the actual registration, will begin in early August and will continue through September and October. A first version of the program will therefore be available in late November, which will leave plenty of time for everyone to prepare for the Forum.

We consider that the stakes are high, and that it is of prime importance to take part in this dynamics for the articulation of organizations, experiences, and proposals. We therefore invite you to start thinking now about the way in which you plan to participate in this process, in terms of both the content and the methodological aspects.

The FPH’s Contribution to the Social Forums

Since 2001, the FPH has contributed in many ways to the Social Forums. It stands on its accumulated experience since the first WSF in January 2001 and in particular on the latest one in Mumbai, last January. It has supported Allies and partners bearing proposals, who were thus able to facilitate many workshops, panels, and seminars. In particular, it has provided methodological know-how to enhance the quality of the debates and proposals in the Forums. The tools that the FPH has contributed are mainly electronic debating forums, concept mapping, and interactive Networks, which contributed to a better preparation and readability of the ideas under debate and to the collective formulation of strategies and proposals.

The new FPH guidelines have placed the accent on building a global community sustained by the interdependence among societies and between humankind and the biosphere. To implement these guidelines it combines three forms of action: promoting ideas and proposals; backing the emergence of socially responsible alliances; and the promotion and improvement of the methods.

FPH Contribution to the WSF 2005 in Porto Alegre

The financial means earmarked by the FPH to support the Social Forums are devoted to methodological support and appreciation of the action of the Foundation and of socially responsible alliances during the Social Forums. It has limited funds to allow Allies and partners to participate in the WSF 2005. It will therefore favor those who bear strong proposals on:

- themes related to governance, ethics, and the emergence of alternative development models; for this it is prepared to back initiatives on poorly represented strategic themes, such as global governance, ethics, or responsibility;

- building international socially responsible alliances within a given socioprofessional sphere; for this it will encourage the participation of poorly represented socioprofessional networks (military peacekeepers, company managers, family farmers, etc.);

- the implementation of collective intelligence methods interlinking the already formulated proposals, taking into account the complexity of realities and the diversity of the spheres;

- use of the Forum as an opportunity to reinforce and establish relations among the actors that it backs and for the further cross-cutting development of the themes opened for debate.

The FPH will back as a priority those who will make the effort to find complementary funds to those that it will provide, those who are at the heart of a collective working process, and those who participate actively in the preparation work for the WSF.

The current basic purpose is to encourage the development of an open and multiple forum for global civil society where ideas, proposals, projects, and alliances are born and are strengthened. We call this moving from an anti-globalization coalition to an alliance for another globalization, which is the vocation of the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World. Social Forums, just as other citizens forums, are fragile, but they are all essential, for in the present times, marked by the growing danger of wars, armed confrontation, and an economic globalization that exacerbates inequalities, it seems important to us to avoid closed simplification processes that have no perspective. The WSF can contribute to maintain these open forums.

You Can Now Take Part in the Initiative

In this preparation process, we therefore invite you to address the organizers of the Forum directly. We nevertheless suggest that you inform us of the initiatives that you intend to take, in particular if you think you might, at some moment or another, need our financial support. The FPH will study the initiatives that it will be able to back according to the criteria and priorities indicated above. Naturally, it will not attempt to back each initiative individually. It is eager to be associated with other foundations and institutions with which it will be able to share, not only the financial costs, but also and above all the human commitment and methodological support that this new stage of the Social Forums requires from us all.

Warm regards,

Pierre Calame

General Manager


Gustavo Marin

Program Manager




The Allies at the FSM
The World Social Forum



Gustavo Marin
Director of the Forum for a New World (...)
+ 26 article(s)

Pierre Calame
Chairman, Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for (...)
+ 27 article(s)

Themes involved

-Social Forums

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